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Weezer

Our critics' picks in new releases

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Following a five-year hiatus, it's certain that Weezer fans are thrilled the band is back with a new album. Following their eponymous debut that scorched the airwaves with hits like "Undone (The Sweater Song)" and the MTV-friendly "Buddy Holly," the band released a great, if misunderstood, follow-up, Pinkerton. While their sophomore disc crumbled on the charts, singer-guitarist Rivers Cuomo dealt with the hazards of fame, going somewhat nuts and retreating into his own private madness. Pulling himself out of this pit was no mean feat, but Cuomo and his band mates have returned and with a bloody vengeance.

Their third album, also titled Weezer, packs a meaty punch for a disc that features only 10 songs and clocks in at just under 30 minutes. In fact, most fans, while digging the album, can only harp on its brevity. Little do they know that Cuomo started with 350 songs and whittled them down, keeping the real gems and polishing them to a brilliant luster. The first single, "Hash Pipe," kicks off with a crunchy guitar riff reminiscent of the theme song to The Munsters, with Cuomo's clean falsetto working in perfect contrast to the nearly metal number. There are plenty of "girl" songs as well, such as the mellow "Island in the Sun" and "Knock-down Drag-out." But the song that will end up on tons of lovey-dovey mix tapes is the closing tune, "O Girlfriend," a syrupy-sweet strummer that every teen will cuddle to at this fall's homecoming dance.

All in all, Cuomo and Weezer have succeeded in not only coming back with a solid album, but also in thumbing their nose at an industry that had all but written them off. Not bad for a guy who had trouble leaving his apartment a few months ago.

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